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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fresh Ricotta Makes the Tart

Hello all! It's Tuesday savory post time (I should really come up with a better phrase than that!). Last night I made one of my favorite brunch-for-dinner items: a ricotta tart, courtesy of Tyler Florence. This one is always a hit with my husband; I think it's best with fresh ricotta if you can get it (I get it from Whole Foods...but if you can't find it, the container from the supermarket works well too!). I also like to use pitted kalamata olives - adds a really yummy, salty kick! This is a great one to impress guests, be set 2 hours aside for this bad boy - there's a lot of resting, baking, and mixing!

Ricotta Tart with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, and Black Olives
Tyler Florence


  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
Ricotta Filling

  • 1 head roasted garlic (see Note)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh Tomato Salad

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tyler's Note: Using a food processor to make dough is a modern timesaver. The downside is that the blade can really overwork the dough; so be sure to use short bursts of power, not long, sustained ones. 
  1. Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar together in a food processor. Put in the chunks of butter, a little at a time, and pulse just until the dough resembles cornmeal. Add the egg yolk and the ice water; pulse again for a second just to pull the dough together. Lightly dust the counter with flour. Dump the dough out and briefly knead it by hand into a ball. Again, do not overwork the dough or it will become as tough as shoe leather. Wrap it tightly in plastic and let it rest and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or even overnight. This lets the protein in the flour relax and also firms up the butter particles.
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Carefully roll the dough up onto the pin (this may take a little practice) and lay it inside a 101/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the edges into the sides of the pan. It is important to press the dough evenly into every nook and corner of the ring, especially the scalloped edges. Fold the excess dough inside to reinforce the rim. Put the tart in the fridge for 15 minutes to relax.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork. Lay a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of the tart shell and fill it with 1 cup of dried beans. The weight of the beans will keep the pie dough flat so it doesn’t bubble when hit with the initial heat. Bake for 30 minutes. Lift out the beans in the foil, return the tart shell to the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  4. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the bottom and sides of the pastry with the egg glaze to seal any tiny holes; it also gives the tart a nice sheen. Your tart shell is ready for filling.
  5. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins into a large bowl. Beat in the eggs and ricotta and Parmigiano cheeses; season with salt and pepper. Place the tart shell on a cookie sheet. Pour the egg mixture into the shell, filling it three-quarters of the way. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for  30 minutes. The tart should still jiggle slightly in the center; it will set up as it cools.
  6. Mix the tomato slices with the olives, basil, and orange zest. Drizzle with a 2-count of oil; season with salt and pepper and fold everything together.
  7. Carefully lift the tart out of the ring and slide the tart off the base and onto a plate. Let the tart cool to room temperature. Cut it into wedges and drizzle with a little olive oil and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Spoon some of the tomato salad onto each plate and put a slice of tart on top.
  8. Note: To roast the garlic, bang the garlic head on the counter to loosen the cloves. Put the separated cloves in a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and close up the pouch. Bake for 30 minutes (you can bake them with the tart shell). The garlic should be soft.

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